IF You Build it They Will READ
I used to think that students didn’t like to read. I was wrong. I became aware of this fact when I built my book wall. Now, I have to admit–the motivations for building my book wall were a bit selfish. I needed an easy and fun way to decorate my classroom, but I needed more space to store my books. I frequent thrift shops, used bookstores and library book sales and simply do not have room at home to store everything I want to buy and I had maxed out all the shelf space in my classroom.
Push Pins and Binder Clips
My wife told me about a teacher at CART in Clovis, CA, who used push pins and binder clips to hang books–simple and easy. I just happen to have tons of binder clips so put up as many as possible–with no organization, rhyme or reason. Then, something magical happened. Students started to ask me if they could borrow them. What!?! This wasn’t a part of any assignment I had given. They didn’t need them for Silent Reading (our school got rid of that years ago). They just wanted to read them.
Plus, my students never asked me about my books when they were on the shelf! Some teachers believe that books are not as attractive when only their spine is showing. I think there is something to this. We all know the old adage: You can’t judge a book by its cover. But, maybe an attractive cover can make the difference between being noticed and not–at least in a classroom.
Choice is Powerful
Now, I make more of an effort to buy books students will be interested in–which has only increased the number of check outs. Choice is a powerful thing.
So now If a student wants to check one out I have them fill out a 3×5 card with their name and book title. Now, I will eventually incorporate this into my class formally-by giving them some sort of class credit for reading. But for now, it’s really refreshing to see this.